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View Full Version : Is it bad to reuse characters due to game failings, even if it involved someone else?



INoKnowNames
2012-11-07, 05:28 PM
Have you guys ever liked a character or its backstory so much that you've wanted to reuse it if/when the game said character was in ended? Is it ever wrong to reroll that same type of character?

What if that backstory hinged on another character's existance? On another player? Is it wrong to try to restart such a character with the aid of a different player?

I kinda don't want to, since I don't know when the first player will be coming back, and I feel like it'd be rude to try to replay a character as part of a duo without the other player in said duo.

At the same time, I don't know if the first player will ever come back, so waiting would be fruitless if I'm waiting forever...

What do you guys think?

Knaight
2012-11-07, 05:30 PM
I really don't see why this would be a problem.

Coidzor
2012-11-07, 05:33 PM
Heck, I've reused characters even when games haven't failed.

Sort of a Marvel multiverse thing in some cases.

Dr.Epic
2012-11-07, 05:44 PM
Heck, I've reused characters even when games haven't failed.

Sort of a Marvel multiverse thing in some cases.

Have any of your characters sold their marriage to a being from the lower planes?:smallwink:

But yeah. There's no reason why you can't. Some characters are just a ton of fun to play, and if the campaign ended way too soon, why should you have the displeasure of never having fully experienced the character?

CarpeGuitarrem
2012-11-07, 05:44 PM
Just ditch the idea of maintaining continuity (though I suspect you weren't thinking of having it in the first place), and go for it. I will commend your thoughtfulness about the other player, but if it ever comes up, make it clear that you consider them to be two different characters...even a "what if?" version of the character, if you will.

PaperMustache
2012-11-07, 06:30 PM
I reused a character concept from my old group after I moved and found a new group. From the same starting level and backstory I got two completely different characters. One was a ghost-busting, good natured lunatic who would befriend her (evil) enemies before killing them. The other became a power hungry, ridiculously charismatic maniac who has ended up personally controlling half of the world. I don't think it would be wrong for you to make the same character, because if you're playing it right the character will change as they experience new things in the campaign and that's really cool.

kamikasei
2012-11-07, 08:44 PM
Have you guys ever liked a character or its backstory so much that you've wanted to reuse it if/when the game said character was in ended?
Yeah, sure. I play PbP, so often a character I quite like gets only a very little play before the game folds. One character in particular I've played a couple of times and would like to pick up again if a suitable game comes around.

Is it ever wrong to reroll that same type of character?
Why on earth would it be?

What if that backstory hinged on another character's existance? On another player? Is it wrong to try to restart such a character with the aid of a different player?
Ah, now this is something different. I'd say... it depends on the connection. It sounds like you're talking about a scenario where you and another player essentially co-create a pair of characters - so your character isn't self-contained but requires the other (and vice versa). In that case...

...It depends. If you just need to have this other character there to fill a role for yours, but the character is essentially a placeholder and the new player can do whatever they want with it beyond that, it's probably fine. If you essentially need the new player to play almost exactly the character the original other player created... that's more iffy. It's all very situational, though.

Alleran
2012-11-07, 11:44 PM
I don't see any issue. I re-use characters, though more often it will be character names, since I'm quite terrible at coming up with good ones. Once I get one that I like, I tend to stick with it for quite some time.

TuggyNE
2012-11-08, 12:08 AM
I don't see any issue. I re-use characters, though more often it will be character names, since I'm quite terrible at coming up with good ones. Once I get one that I like, I tend to stick with it for quite some time.

Oddly, I generally do the opposite. I have a particular naming scheme, and I'm fairly creative in coming up with new variations, and I don't re-use characters much (although I have no real objection to it, it just doesn't always seem to fit very well with a different campaign, different houserules, or whatever).

Absol197
2012-11-08, 09:29 AM
There's no problem with this at all, as far as I can see.

My favorite character I've ever played I first created my freshman year at college. The campaign ended quite suddenly, before his story could be completely told.

So, three years later, I brought him back in a different campaign, and I got to tell his entire story. Sure, it was set in a different world, with different allies, but now I know which version is the "real" version of his story.

I'm planning on doing it for another character that I played once, but never got to fully explore.


~Phoenix~

Kitten Champion
2012-11-08, 09:44 AM
If it nettles why don't you just reskin it a bit, retcon out the squishy parts, and keep the bits you like. Authors do it all the time.

valadil
2012-11-08, 10:35 AM
I've done this on a few occasions. Usually it happens when I get into a character, but the game ends before the character has any major growth. I'd hate to not be able to use an interesting character I'd come up with just because logistics and flaky players allowed the game he was in to fall apart. It'd be like trying to get a book published, getting rejected, and writing a second book instead of trying to pitch the first one to a new editor.

Thialfi
2012-11-08, 10:38 AM
What is this campaign ending thing you speak of? We have had the same ongoing campaign for the last 33 years. Different settings come in an are integrated to make the universe larger. Characters never get shelved usless they die in a permanent way. Anyone can use any character they like, so long as they are not currently active in another adventure.

I have never rolled up a new character that was exactly like a character that died, but I wouldn't have a problem with anyone that did.

The only rule we enforce with characters that is absolutely unwavering is that all new characters must be 1st level.

Jarawara
2012-11-08, 12:03 PM
What is this campaign ending thing you speak of? We have had the same ongoing campaign for the last 33 years.

Exactly my thoughts! I'm on 32 years for my own game. However, when I play in other's games, I tend to reuse the same characters over and over again.

I don't play 'character classes', I play 'personalities' - and so each time I reuse a character, I go ahead and reroll him and recreate him with different stats, a different class (or skillset, in the case of classless RPG's), and sometimes I even modify the race. I've played Jarath as a hedgemage, as a fighter/wizard, as a rogue/wizard, and I'm considering rewriting him as a bard. Each time I start him at 1st level (or whatever the DM wants to start at), but in my mind I draw upon the previous experiences as basis of shaping the personality.

In truth the character's actual background is a amalgamation of all of his incarnations. And eventually he got ported over to my campaign world as an NPC, drawing upon all of these previous experiences to shape the current version. All in all, it's quite useful to be able to reuse your old player characters as NPC's, as it makes them fleshed out and believable.

*~*~*


What if that backstory hinged on another character's existance? On another player? Is it wrong to try to restart such a character with the aid of a different player?

You can, but only if you do it correctly. Let me give you a couple of examples:

I have a character named Tonnorial. When I was first starting him out, a friend of mine who was just learning to play D&D suggested that her character (named Farsha) and mine would be childhood friends. She would visit me at the monastery, she would help me with my illness (I was a patient there, and she was a healer). We had a professional relationship, but also a very close one. I kept my distance, but if she were threatened I would move heaven and earth (and other PC's if they got in my way) to get to her. It worked great.

Later I was in another game and I was going to play Tonnorial again. But this time, no Farsha. That's ok, I would simply play him on his own merits, as he has now left the monastery and gone out into the world. Another player, upon hearing Tonnorial's background, briefly flirted with the idea of playing a Farsha-type. That would be ok with me... provided that it was her idea and not mine. It's her character, he has to make the decision of what to be, not me. She ultimately decided not to do that, and that's ok too. She didn't want her character to too dependent upon mine; she wanted to be free to develop it in her own way (which I certainly agree with).

In that circumstance, getting the aid of another player could work, because the other player came up with the idea and offered it, instead of you convincing them to do so. But only if it doesn't interfere with the other player's own character concept.

I saw an example of the 'wrong' way to do it... This one player, who liked to play conflicted, neurotic types, came up with a fairly interesting character concept. He was going to play a widowed paladin who was mourning his deceased wife, and was haunted by her ghost. He roleplayed the character talking with his dead wife, trying to hide it but sometimes even out in the open he would turn to his wife's ghost and have a conversation.

Ok, odd, but interesting. But here's the real twist: His wife was not dead! She had divorced him and he couldn't handle it so in his mind she 'died'. The idea that at some point we might encounter his supposedly dead wife and find the real truth... that just made this character even downright facinating!

That is... until he then started pressuring his real-life, really divorced, ex-wife to roleplay the "dead wife" in the game, just so he can have the fun of roleplaying a conversation in front of her, with 'her' but not actually with her...


Ahhh... No! Just say no!


So yeah, if someone else offers to remake a joint-character background, and if they also are planning a character concept that stands on it's own merits and not just as an extention of your own, then yes you can re-do it. If not, then when you remake the character just play it as a chapter in his life where's he's on his own.

Jay R
2012-11-08, 04:45 PM
It doesn't matter if it's a good idea or not; it's not really possible. After the first adventure, his backstory includes the adventure he was involved in, and the actual role-play. Over time, the character becomes more what you actually do with him, not merely the backstory you invented.

Therefore it would be impossible for me to re-use an established character. Ornrandir has snuck into enemy encampments, blown up war machines, researched new spells, helped put a king on the throne, and been rewarded with a county that has gold and silver mines, and he's trying to get the mithril mine in operation. Another version of him with the same character sheet but a different game simply would not be the same person.

Kane0
2012-11-08, 05:17 PM
If the campaigns are compatible, so are the characters in it.

Quite often I've seen recurring characters within other games that are set in the same location or can overlap easily.

In one campaign there was a bard in our party that later became the god of commerce. She still makes cameos in a lot of our campaigns.

Lyndworm
2012-11-09, 04:44 AM
No long, shining examples and detailed explanations here, but I don't see anything wrong with it. I occasionally reuse concepts, especially for games that die. I have a concept now that was originally meant to be part of a duo, but, if ever reimplemented, will likely not remain that way.

I say go for it, have fun, play the game.

Coidzor
2012-11-09, 07:31 PM
Have any of your characters sold their marriage to a being from the lower planes?:smallwink:

But yeah. There's no reason why you can't. Some characters are just a ton of fun to play, and if the campaign ended way too soon, why should you have the displeasure of never having fully experienced the character?

:smalltongue: Strangely enough, none of my characters have wed, at least... canonically. The unluckiest horizon tripper in the multiverse who is basically living through a version of Sliders and Quantum Leap has probably ended up in a marriage at some point but not in a game yet.

Dr.Epic
2012-11-09, 07:41 PM
:smalltongue: Strangely enough, none of my characters have wed, at least... canonically. The unluckiest horizon tripper in the multiverse who is basically living through a version of Sliders and Quantum Leap has probably ended up in a marriage at some point but not in a game yet.

Well, just remember, fiends can offer you top gold for you marriage!:smallwink:

Rixx
2012-11-09, 09:02 PM
If you have a little bit of time, me and some friends discussed this on the Critical Wits podcast:

http://criticalwits.info/2012/07/18/episode-2-re-using-characters/

Kesnit
2012-11-09, 09:30 PM
I played a Gnome Artificer in a 4e game, who eventually became the "character everyone remembers." (He was the only PC to survive the entire campaign. Plus, he was CE in a way that didn't disrupt the game. Everyone loved him.) The campaign ended, but the character did not. I now have a Gnome Mage in WoW and a Halfling Artificer in DDO named for that character.


When I started Live Action Role Play, my now-wife (then fiancee) had been LARPing for years. To ease me into the game, we made our characters in a way to tie them together (so I would have an IC reason to be with my fiancee, rather than be dumped by myself). Eventually, she retired the character, and I put mine on the back burner (but did not kill him). Recently, we started LARPing again and she decided to make a character based very much on the one she retired years ago. (Different group, so no one in the new group met the original.) There is no connection between my current character and her semi-reborn one, although I know OOC what the basis for her new one is. I'm more amused than anything that she wants to bring back a version of the dead character that had ties to me. (Although I am seriously considering bringing back my back-burnered character and having him meet the new one. It could be rather amusing...)

TheThan
2012-11-09, 11:06 PM
All the time actually.

A lot of the PCs I make end up being recycled into NPCs of some sort. And yeah, Iíve also recycled some as PCs in other games. I donít see anything wrong with it, theyíre your characters, if you like them, then thereís no problem in using them or reusing them.

scurv
2012-11-10, 01:58 AM
go for it, But I always run it by the DM first.

Delwugor
2012-11-10, 10:20 AM
If you like the character and the GM is alight with it, there should not be any problems.

My namesake was originally played in a Palladium Fantasy game and then I ran him in a 3.5 Greyhawk campaign several years later.
In the PF game he worked for a "Guardian Angel" which I used to justify him being transferred to Greyhawk to continue on with his work.

NEO|Phyte
2012-11-10, 09:29 PM
Nothing wrong with reusing characters if you like them. I've used Malous in something like 5 different games, with differing fluff in all cases. One memorable instance was when the DM offered to let him be the Lord of Blades.

Machinekng
2012-11-10, 11:18 PM
I don't think there's anything wrong with it, although it may be a bit distasteful if it's the same GM.

I tend to always make new characters, as it's something that I really enjoy, but if you like something you've already made, and never got a chance to unleash its potential, I'd say go ahead.